Maid for Sale – Dima Al-Joundi


Sri Lankan women used to be the largest single group of foreign domestic workers in Lebanon. This film chronicles three women and their stories that intertwine charged with hope and despair.


Synopsis of Maid for Sale

In the early 2000s, with a population of about four million in Lebanon, over 100,000 were said to be international migrant workers of Sri Lankan origin. Most of these workers were women who work as housekeepers for Lebanese families. In order to pay off family debts or help their families, many of these women came from rural areas and left their families and children to work in Lebanon. Most of the time, they found themselves in a situation worse than back home, deprived of their passports, locked up in houses, working for countless hours…all this for 100 dollars a month!

Three women, Sashika, Janika, and Anne-Rita, each going through her destiny and telling us about it from the bottom of the heart. Three stories that intertwine marked by the sending of letters back home, the swallowed tears upon departure, the long years of waiting and suffering, and the uncertain return home.

“Maid for Sale” tells their story.

Read our blog post for behind the scenes & current status of Sri Lankans in Lebanon.


53 minutes | English & French subtitles | HD (1920×1080)*
Lebanon, Sri Lanka, France**, Belgium**| 2005
Director: Dima Al-Joundi
Producer: Patricia Hubinet, Dima Al-Joundi, André Logie, Eliane du Bois
Production Company: Les Films du Soleil, Crystal Films, Panache Productions
*SD (720×576) for French version.
**Production only, not location of shooting.

Awards & Film Festivals

1. First Prize for Best Documentary, 2008 United Nations Millennium Development Goals Competition (MDGs)
2. Grand Prize and Jury Prize, 2009 Khouribga International Documentary Film Festival
3. Winner of Jury Prize, 2010 Terra di Tutti Film Festival
4. Winner of Audience Prize, 2007 Festival International des Cinemas d’Asie de Vesoul
And 20+ more.

Highlight Endorsement

“The film deals with an issue long overlooked by many, namely the plight of maids and women in particular, and sheds light on the issue of foregoing childhood, motherhood, and life within a safe family environment away from her country, her language, and her family so as to ear some money for herself and her family.”
Ahmed Mahfoudh, Director of the Al Jazeera Documentary Channel

“Maid for Sale is an excellent documentary that highlights a very important issue in the most eloquent and measured fashion. A true lesson in documentary making.”
Panos Kotzathanasis, Asian Movie Pulse

“Maids for Sale, distinguished itself by the strength and courage by which it addressed the topic of Sri Lankan maids and the phenomenon of modern slavery.”
Habib Naciri, President of Khouribga International Documentary Film Festival

Reasons for Recommendation

1. This film is the first documentary with the theme of maids in the Middle East which was dealt with from the insider.
2. It deciphers the economic, political and socio-cultural aspects of the network where the collusion between states, recruitment agencies, banks and usurers is wholly evident.
3. Those who have been robbed of their human dignity and individual identity will have the opportunity to speak via Maid for Sale.

More Info

1. Al Jazeera Witness program audience comments
2. Asian Movie Pulse: Documentary Review: Maid for Sale (2005) by Dima Al-Joundi
3. The Island: ‘A Maid for Sale’
4. Witnessing Life: She cried with them and told their story for Sale’
5. International Association of Independent Producers of the Mediterranean: Interview with Dima Al Joundi
6. Related blog posts

You may also like…

Close Menu